Things Cannot Go Well in a Crisis. When Everything Is Going Well, There Is No Crisis
In the discussion panel of Riigikogu Toimetised on 14 April 2021, representatives of parliamentary parties Riina Sikkut (Social Democratic Party), Siret Kotka (Centre Party), Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) and Mati Raidma (Reform Party)1 discussed via the videoconferencing platform Teams how Estonia had managed in the global coronavirus crisis.
Was Estonia ready for it? What lessons can we learn from it? The discussion was moderated by Tiina Kaalep. Some remarks from the discussion:
RIINA SIKKUT: We cannot expect Estonia to always be lucky. During the last 30 years, we have indeed been very lucky, but we should not have or must not have expected that the coronavirus crisis would be confined to the two months of the emergency situation. It does not matter if we speak of the training of health care workers or the planning vaccination or how to keep society together. And you should not always be collecting political capital from everything, because such a large crisis is something we have to overcome together.
SIRET KOTKA: As it always is with restrictions and recommendations, the restrictions that were imposed last spring – to wear gloves when shopping and to wash food products when you come home – have changed by now, and such recommendations are no longer actively given. In other words, everybody becomes wiser in the light of COVID-19.
URMAS REINSALU: Looking back in the perspective of several years, this crisis has taught us a very important lesson: an all-round crisis in one sphere of life will not be confined to just one sphere; it will have implications for the whole spectrum of life. In my opinion, this has to be taken into account when assessing the risk of any future military, internal security or ecological crises.
MATI RAIDMA: The crisis has given and is continuing to give us knowledge on how the country is managing in an emergency situation and in emergency. How different ministries and agencies are cooperating without long-term planning in advance. Actually, this is not even particularly coronavirus crisis-specific knowledge, and it can easily be transferred into the national defence dimension: how the country can exist under special circumstances. It is an enormous and strong lesson. You cannot draft it on paper. You have to live it through and to feel it.
1 The representative of the Estonian Conservative People’s Party was unable to attend.